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Kent Association for the Blind

3 images of mobility training using a cane, tactile communication, and a man being shown how to use a magnifier

Could I benefit from Rehabilitation?

Anyone having difficulties managing their everyday lives because of a sight impairment can benefit from our Rehab service. There are many forms of sight impairment. Most people retain some useful vision, although a small percentage of people are totally blind. People of any age, any ability, with any level of sight loss and at any stage of sight loss can contact KAB, and we will try to help.

Who provides Rehab services?

Rehab services are delivered in different ways in different parts of the country. In Kent, Bomley and Medway, the Rehab service is provided by KAB through contracts with each Local Authority. Rehab workers are based in local teams and will respond to enquiries and referrals from sight impaired people, carers, families or other professionals.

In Bexley the rehabilitation service is provided by Inspire with KAB providing some specialist services.

How much Rehab will I need?

Everybody's Rehab needs will be different. One person with severe sight loss may adapt well to their new situation and may need very little Rehab to remain independent. Another person may have more remaining vision but need much more help to cope with daily life.

Rehab is often an ongoing process and a person may need to learn different skills at different times. Someone's level of motivation and determination is all-important. Some skills training, such as long cane use, may need to be developed over weeks or months. As people become more confident they may require more routes to be taught. Some people's sight may deteriorate and as their needs change additional training may be required.

Remember, you do not need to be registered sight impaired in order to receive a service from KAB, and people can refer themselves back to us at any time for further advice or skills training.

Who pays for Rehab?

Rehab services are provided free of charge to people who meet the Local Authority's eligibility criteria and KAB receives funding from Local Authorities to do this. These criteria can vary from one Authority to another, but if a person is having real difficulties because of their sight loss, they should call their local team.

How do I become registered sight impaired?

If spectacles no longer help with your reading or your ability to move around safely, ask your optician whether they feel you might be eligible for registration. They can help you be referred to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) who is the only person who can sign the Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) which is the first step in the registration process. Alternatively, ask your GP to refer you to an ophthalmologist with a view to being registered.

If I only have sight in one eye, am I eligible to be registered as sight impaired?

Only if the sight in your remaining eye is significantly impaired. The criteria for registration depends on your best level of vision using both eyes together and with any spectacle or contact lens correction.

Now that I have very little vision do I need to go into residential care?

No. With the right support you should be able to stay living independently. Get in touch with your local KAB Rehabilitation Team to discuss any difficulties you are having.

I have been registered Severely Sight Impaired/Blind. Is this an indication that I will lose my sight completely?

No. Registration as Severely Sight Impaired/Blind indicates that your vision has reached a certain level. Depending on your eye condition you may always retain some vision. Only a very small percentage of registered people are totally blind.

If I am registered, may I still drive?

No, unfortunately not. The level of vision for registration is below the minimum sight requirements for driving. If you hold a current driving licence, you must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if you have any medical condition which makes it dangerous for you to drive a vehicle - including of course sight loss. Failure to notify DVLA is a criminal offence and is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000. Your insurance would also be invalid if you were to have an accident.

More information about driving

I am registered. Can I have a Blue Badge for parking?

If you are registered as Severely Sight Impaired/Blind you are eligible for a Blue Badge. Contact you local KAB Rehabilitation Team. Registration as Sight Impaired/Partially Sighted does not automatically carry eligibility for this concession. However, if you have other health conditions that restrict your mobility, you should ask your GP if you are eligible.

Purple crocuses with text saying 'Leave a Legacy' underneath

Three men dressed as a carrot, bunch of grapes and a tomato

Young visually impaired boy holding up his artwork with the text 'Wall of thanks' underneath